A Guide To Cohabitation Agreement – Benefits And Key Elements

Cohabitation agreements have become increasingly popular amongst unmarried couples.

Whether it is due to the costs associated with marriage or personal beliefs, many couples have opted for having their relationship legally recognised as what is known as a common law relationship.

While many assume that a common law relationship has the same features and benefits as a legal marriage, that’s far from the truth. Since both are unique, it only makes sense that the key elements and benefits of each differ.

With this in mind, if you’re looking to find out more about what is a cohabitation agreement and the advantages and key elements of the same, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve put together a short guide on what a cohabitation agreement is, to help you better understand all that it entails.

So without further ado, let’s take a look!

Cohabitation Agreement – All You Need To Know

A cohabitation agreement or common law contract is an agreement that protects you and your partner’s rights and legal obligations. It provides clarity and clear boundaries that can prove to be mentally exhausting when the relationship comes to an end.

Since there are many different types of solicitors who are great in their field including the best employment solicitors and family law solicitors, you’ll need to find one relevant to your situation; in this case, a person well-versed with family law.

The promises a couple make to each other are legally set out through the cohabitation document. This makes it easy for unmarried couples to enter the agreement before or after they move in together. Another idea that most couples opt for is to enter another agreement when breaking up which is known as the separation agreement. 

Moreover, a person can enter this agreement with their partner only as per the Family Law Act definition of ‘spouse’. Under this, a person is considered a spouse only if they’re married to another person or has lived with another person in a marriage-like situation. The latter is applicable only if they’ve lived with their partner for more than 2 years or have a child with the partner for less than 2 years.

This is also applicable if the couple has not lived together in the same house all the time and applies to same-sex and different-sex couples.

Benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement

With a cohabitation agreement, every couple can have legal arrangements made or decided for sensitive or crucial matters like finances, property, and any other responsibilities undertaken by them both in the course of the relationship. With this, any potential burden or legal costs can be taken care of by what is drafted in the agreement without risks of matters getting messy.

Here are a few common reasons why a cohabitation agreement is beneficial for couples –

Property And Financial Assets

Most couples agree that any owned property of a partner is separate property that belongs to that partner. However, property acquired together is something of concern.

With a cohabitation agreement, if your relationship breaks down or comes to an end you and your partner can decide how the property should be dealt with in a more practical way or approach. This includes any debts related to the property, how it will be allocated, what claims can be included or excluded, etc.

Moreover, in case of any important financial assets or saved funds, with a cohabitation agreement in place, you and your partner can decide legally on how to proceed with things and who has a claim to which asset.

Important Life-Changing Steps

One of the most understated reasons behind entering into a cohabitation agreement is how life-changing decisions can impact a relationship. For example, if a partner changes their job, relocates or has children, this can have a major impact on the relationship.

In case the relationship ends, an important or irrevocable decision like relocation or children can be compensated or provided for with you being entitled to alimony. In unfortunate circumstances where your partner refuses to compensate you, this agreement can serve as a very important way of protection for you.

To Sum Up

For every legal situation, consulting professionals or experts like employment solicitors etc. can help you better understand your situation and how to handle it in a way that works out best in your favour. 

While you may obtain basic information about a cohabitation agreement, ensuring that you and your partner seek legal advice from a solicitor is essential in making sure everything is taken care of.

However, while many may have prejudices about such an agreement, by understanding the various benefits it can provide each partner with ensures that in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown, things can get resolved and people can move forward in the best way possible.